THE SUPREME COURT has impleaded Congress as respondents in a petition against the third extension of martial law in Mindanao, according to a media briefer on Tuesday.
Oral arguments are set on Jan. 21 for the Jan. 4 petition filed by Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel C. Lagman, together with Representatives Tomasito S. Villarin of Akbayan, Teddy B. Baguilat Jr. of Ifugao, Edgar R. Erice of Caloocan City (2nd District), Gary C. Alejano of Magdalo, and Jose Christopher Y. Belmonte of Quezon City (6th District), and Arlene “Kaka” J. Bag-ao of Dinagat Islands.
Their petition only included as respondents Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea, Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana, Armed Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benjamin R. Madrigal, Jr., and Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno.
The Office of the Solicitor-General commented on the petition on Jan. 15, arguing that terrorist groups “continue to defy the government by perpetrating hostile activities during the extended period of martial law.”
Congress on Dec. 12 approved a third extension of martial law in Mindanao to the rest of 2019.
The martial law was declared by President Rodrigo R. Duterte first declared martial law in Mindanao on May 23, 2017, following the siege of Marawi City that began that day by the terrorist Maute group. The city was declared liberated on Oct. 17, following the killing of the group’s leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute.
Apart from the said petition, seven party-list representatives on Wednesday also petitioned the Supreme Court (SC) to strike down the third extension of martial law in Mindanao. — V.M.M.V.